Deepak Chopra Discovers.....
#1
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/...earnin.php

He seems very surprised. I guess it's something he's never experienced before.

Chopra has a little story to tell. It seems colobus monkeys have discovered that eating charcoal absorbs some of the irritating toxins in their diet, so the monkeys have been chowing down on the stuff for several generations. This is cool and clever, but not at all surprising — organisms adapt and take advantage of their environment all the time. But Chopra being Chopra has to put a very weird spin on it.

He argues that the behavior isn't genetic, because it's too recent — not quite right, novel mutations have to arise sometime, but in this case I agree with him that it isn't likely to be genetic, because it spread more rapidly through the population than genes do. Then he claims that it can't have been by chance, because, he claims, monkeys don't eat random stuff. There, of course, he's wrong — it's practically a hallmark of monkeys that they are curious and try all sorts of things. What he then tries to do from this fallacious exclusion, though, is leap to an amazing conclusion.

What we are witnessing is an intelligent discovery on the part of creatures who stand far below Homo sapiens on the evolutionary chain, and that discovery is being passed on from mother to child without genetic adaptation. To me, this means that quite a blow has been struck for intelligence being innate in the universe. It suggests that evolution itself has never been random but is guided by the principle of intelligence -- not "intelligent design," which is a red herring supplied by religious conservatives. The intelligent universe is a cutting-edge idea, not a throwback to scripture. As a theory, it gives us a much more elegant explanation for many things that are clumsily explained by falling back on randomness to explain every new development in Nature.

Monkey discovers new material in its habitat, charcoal left by human fires. Monkey eats some. Monkey discovers it has soothing effect on its guts. Monkey eats more, more monkeys watch and learn, habit spreads through population.

That's it. That's the simple story. From this, Chopra invents this bizarre idea that an intelligent universe is pushing clever ideas into monkey brains, and is guiding 'evolution'. It's a crazy claim spun out of a fairly straightforward observation of entirely natural behavior by some monkeys.

Chopra doesn't know what evolution is.

At the moment, evolutionary theory refuses to abandon the notion of random selection, and geneticists cling stubbornly to the doctrine of random mutations to explain why new things appear in the unfolding story of life. We all have a stake in this argument, however. Seeing the red colobus evolve before our eyes cannot be denied. It didn't happen randomly, and their new discovery represents a quantum leap forward in their survival. There's much to think about here, since we want to know how early humans made their first discoveries and passed them on to us. Rather than saying that a larger brain made intelligence possible, why not say the opposite, that intelligence dictated a larger brain so that it could expand? Life moves forward inexorably, no one doubts that. Now it's up to us to explain the hidden forces behind evolution, in hopes that we can tap those forces and guide our own future.

The colobus story is not an example of evolution at all — it involves no changes in, or transmission of, heritable traits in a population. It is explainable entirely in terms of simple behavioral plasticity, and requires no intervention by an external intelligence, challenges absolutely nothing in evolutionary theory, and doesn't demonstrate any hidden forces. If he were to try and present such a fable at a scientific meeting, he'd be laughed out of the room.

The only mystery here is why newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle continue to publish his drivel. Is someone under the misapprehension that he is a respected or even credible thinker? He's a loon.
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#2
Quote:Chopra invents this bizarre idea that an intelligent universe is pushing clever ideas into monkey brains, and is guiding 'evolution'. It's a crazy claim spun out of a fairly straightforward observation of entirely natural behavior by some monkeys.

This sums it up.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#3
Quote:Chopra invents this bizarre idea that an intelligent universe is pushing clever ideas into monkey brains, and is guiding 'evolution'. It's a crazy claim spun out of a fairly straightforward observation of entirely natural behavior by some monkeys.

That is straight out of Athur C Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. An alien intelligence sends an agent to Earth around 3 mya which tampers with the brains of hominids living at that time giving them ideas on tool usage, something which leads to the evolution of us - a technological species. Science fiction has plenty of good ideas for swindlers like Ron L Hubbard and now Dee-Quack-pak Chopra to bamboozle gullible masses.
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#4
Quote:Dee-Quack-pak Chopra

Hilarious!

If you use the American pronunciation of Deepak, it does sound a lot like 'The Quack' Rolleyes
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#5
(02-May-2010, 02:45 AM)Lije Wrote: That is straight out of Athur C Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. An alien intelligence sends an agent to Earth around 3 mya which tampers with the brains of hominids living at that time giving them ideas on tool usage, something which leads to the evolution of us - a technological species. Science fiction has plenty of good ideas for swindlers like Ron L Hubbard and now Dee-Quack-pak Chopra to bamboozle gullible masses.

Actually that interpretation of 2001 is debatable.
There never was an explanation given by Kubric on the movie's meaning, everyone can draw their own conclusion, thats why this movies is one of greatest things produces by man, imo.

In my version Kardashev scale plays an interesting part, and evolution isn't driven by the monoliths and they aren't living things (as agent you implied, agent can be non living as well but it usually implies living entity)
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#6
(16-May-2010, 11:08 PM)Varun Wrote: Actually that interpretation of 2001 is debatable.
There never was an explanation given by Kubric on the movie's meaning, everyone can draw their own conclusion, thats why this movies is one of greatest things produces by man, imo.

The movie's meaning is debatable. But the novel's is not. Clarke mentions it explicitly. The sequel 2010: A Space Odyssey makes this even more clear. [Spoiler Alert. Select text to see.]The Monolith guys find early lifeforms in Jupiter's moon, Europa. So they compress Jupiter to start a fission reaction (Jupiter is mostly hydrogen) and create a new star to provide warmth for Europa. They then give an ultimatum to humanity to not to set foot on Europa[/Spoiler]
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#7
Movie was quite different from the novel on many issue, yes.
Kubric while researching consulted experts who told him about the Kardashev scale and other concepts, but Kubric never clearly explained what was his original or real meaning of the movie.
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#8
I think that Kubrik and Clarke decided on two approaches for the Movie and the novel (though Kubrik was not involved in the novel). For the movie they decided to keep it as minimal as possible. The book adds a layer of meaning to the movie that cannot be there except as narrator. If you were to compare the beginning of the movie with the beginning of the book you would see that the book leaves no doubt that the monolith is trying to influence human "conciseness". This is just my opinion though, they are both works of fiction and should be enjoyed as such.
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